PITTSBURGH - Two Pennsylvania school district officials on June 1 filed a brief in federal court arguing that a lawsuit filed against them and the school district by a mother who alleges that her daughter was poisoned by lead and copper drinking water at the child's elementary school should be dismissed (Jennifer Tait, et al. v. Butler Area School District, et al., No. 17-182, W.D. Pa.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on May 31 partially granted and partially deferred pretrial evidence motions in a lawsuit brought by homeowners against a developer that they allege is responsible for contaminating their properties with raw sewage, finding that there was no basis to exclude from evidence certain medical documents related to the alleged pollution (Cedar Lodge Plantation LLC, et al. v. CSHV Fairway View I LLC, et al., No. 13-129, M.D. La.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83690).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Expert testimony that no safe level of exposure to asbestos exists does not overcome summary judgment where it is equally possible that a man's mesothelioma arose from other exposures, a divided Kentucky appeals court held June 2 (Tiffany Landreth, et al. v. Brake Supply Co. Inc., et al., No. 2015-CA-000006-MR, Pneumo Abex LLC v. Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 2015-CA-000140-MR, Brake Supply Co. Inc. and Pneumo Abex v. Fortner L.P. Gas Co. Inc., et al., No. 2015-CA-000141-MR, Ky. App., 2017 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 399).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A shipyard may supplement its removal notice with government contracts and affidavits detailing the role the U.S. Navy played in requiring asbestos aboard ships, a Louisiana federal judge held June 2 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84804).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals on May 30 ruled that a woman who sued the owner of her rental house failed to establish causation that his negligence in allowing lead-paint hazards on the premises caused her grandson's injuries, which she contended included autism (Myra Duby v. Christopher Woolf, No. 84A05-1612-CT-2815, Ind. App.; 2017 Ind. App. LEXIS 224).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A divided Maryland Court of Appeals on May 30 reversed and remanded a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit, finding that the plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence of causation (Terrence Rogers v. Home Equity USA Inc., No. 57 Sept. Term, Md. App.; 2017 Md. LEXIS 387).
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on May 30 recommended approving a settlement of a lawsuit between an environmental group and defendants accused violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging stormwater without a permit, finding that the agreement furthers the objectives of the statute (Raritan Baykeeper, Inc. v. Flag Container Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-4634, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83426).
AKRON, Ohio - A judge improperly excluded testimony after wrongly finding that a co-worker relied on hearsay from a supervisor rather than his own experiences regarding work with a defendant's asbestos-containing tape, an Ohio appeals court held May 31 (Ruth Williams v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and Akron Gasket & Packing Enterprises, No. 28253, Ohio App., 9th Dist., Ohio App. LEXIS 2089).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A woman's reading of the state's statute of repose is both outdated and implausible and does not preclude application of the law to her case alleging exposure from insulation applied to a generator whose construction was completed in June 1970, a Maryland appeals court held May 31 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 453 September Term, 2015, June Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 40 September Term, 2016, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 561).
TOLEDO, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on May 30 denied a motion to dismiss a man's Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit over a sanitary district's use of mosquito-killing pesticides, finding that while his notice of intent to sue was deficient, he sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact and redressability (Matt Cooper v. Toledo Area Sanitary District, No. 16-cv-1698, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82193).
NEW YORK - A judge properly remanded a couple's asbestos action after they abandoned claims invoking federal jurisdiction, and dismissal of the last nondiverse defendant does not require a different outcome, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 31 (Alton Chapman, Frances Chapman v. Crane Co., et al., No. 16-933, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9732).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A judge in Delaware state court on May 30 denied a motion filed by a plaintiff in a tobacco product suit to certify a class of Delaware smokers who spent money on Marlboro lights and denied the tobacco company's motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff's claims arise from state law, not federal law (Mary A. Carroll, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 03C-08-167, Del. Super.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Having "[sown] poisoned seeds" by conducting a decades-long effort to destroy evidence of asbestos liability, a company now attempts to harvest its crop by complaining that class representatives accusing it of fraud do not know the precise impact of that scheme, plaintiffs told a New Jersey federal judge on May 30 in opposing a sanctions motion (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 26 ruled that environmental groups sufficiently showed that a mining company's discharges of ionic pollution into two waterways violated the narrative water quality standards allowed by permits issued to the company under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and that the company's discharges into a larger waterway were legal (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 15-1371, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81593).
DETROIT - One of the defendants being sued by Flint, Mich., residents seeking damages for lead-contaminated drinking water filed a brief in Michigan federal court on May 25, arguing that the complaint against it should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a cause of action (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 30 ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency properly withheld production of financial records obtained from a number of power plants in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from three environmental groups, finding that Exemption 4 of the FOIA supersedes a provision of the Clean Water Act (CWA) that would allow disclosure of the information (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-5109, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9332).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal court properly excluded expert testimony that people living near a steel mill "will suffer harm to their health" due to elevated levels of manganese on their properties because the expert failed to provide "any actual proof" to support his opinion, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 25 (Michael Abrams, et al. v. Nucor Steel Marion, Inc., No. 15-4422, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9323).
NEW YORK - Asbestos plaintiffs are entitled to discovery into how an Italian company's products ended up in a New York factory, the justice overseeing New York asbestos litigation held in an opinion posted May 25 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation David Cerutti and Steven Cerutti, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190009/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 25 affirmed a ruling that the federal government could not be held liable as an arranger under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for the disposal of hazardous waste at a former mining site in Idaho, holding that while the government knew that hazardous substances were being stored on the property, it did not intend for them to be disposed of (United States of America v. Federal Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-35192, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9151).
DETROIT - Consumers of diesel-model Silverado and Sierra trucks made by General Motors LLC from 2011 to 2016 filed a class action May 25 in Michigan federal court against the automaker and the manufacturer of a part that allegedly allows the vehicles to cheat emissions tests, claiming that the car maker misrepresented the vehicles' fuel economy and emission levels (Andrei Fenner, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, et al., No. 17-cv-11661, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 25 ordered United Parcel Service Inc. to pay a total of $246,975,614 after finding in March that UPS knowingly shipped cigarettes to unauthorized sellers and on behalf of those sellers to residents in New York (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43495).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The record-keeping provisions of the Contraband Cigarettes Trafficking Act (CCTA) applies to tribal entities for tobacco sales on as well as off the reservation, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled May 24 (Ho-Chunk, Inc., et al. v. Jeff Sessions, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, et al., No. 16-cv-01652, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79397).
SEATTLE - A couple must file supplemental briefs explaining why dismissal of a complete diversity defeating defendant is possible and providing a better explanation of a second defendant's corporate structure, a federal judge overseeing an asbestos action in Washington state held May 24 (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corporation LTD., et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79813).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 23 approved a $39 million settlement deal under which ConocoPhillips, a defendant in the multidistrict litigation for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), will be released from the litigation (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - Evidence presented at trial and past jury awards in mesothelioma cases support raising a jury's noneconomic damages award to $1.5 million from $500,000, a Louisiana appeals court held May 24 (Frank S. Romano Sr. and Lynn Rome Romano v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 2016-CA-0954, La. App., 4th Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 961).